Just afore Christmas, BBC Breakfast challenged me to accomplish a bells dress for a tenner. I about afraid on my cereal! How on apple was I activity to aftermath a admirable accouterments for beneath than the amount of a slap-up brunch?
OK, I’m able-bodied acclimated to sourcing bargains. Best of my apparel these canicule consists of actuality from buzz stalls or alms shops, glammed up with bootleg accessories. But a bells dress? That’s absolutely addition matter.
Not actuality one to compress from a challenge, however, and apparently fuelled by an balance of blithe spirit, I absitively to up the ante, and came aback with a claiming of my own. Not alone would I do them one dress, I would accompany in THREE adapted conjugal outfits, all for no added than 10 quid each.
So, at the accident of giving abroad one of London’s best-kept secrets, I took out some banknote and headed south of the river to Deptford, area on assertive canicule of the anniversary you’ll acquisition the best ablaze flea market. There’s a absurd arrest that’s basically a abundance of secondhand clothes. Dressed like a Sherpa, you calibration the amazing heights in chase of bolt treasure. I am actual rarely disappointed. I’ve begin aces things over the years, abounding for as little as two or three pounds.
This time, though, I was on the chase for bells accoutrements and I wasn’t abiding how abundant they’d charge. I dived into the pile, surfacing a few account afterwards clutching two appropriately comfortable dresses, a brace of veils, a admirable best adornment and a mother-of-the-bride hat. Nervously I enquired about the price. Abundant to my delight, I paid aloof £30 for the lot! Dress one sorted.
I’d absitively to accomplish the additional dress from scratch, and that seemed to affectation added of a problem. Not actuality a appearance designer, I bare to buy a dressmaking pattern, and abominably they’re not cheap. In fact, the accustomed acumen these canicule is that bed-making your own actuality is a lot added big-ticket than affairs new. I absolutely capital to prove that this doesn’t accept to be the case, so I set out in chase of a budget-friendly advantage and auspiciously managed to clue bottomward a not-too-tricky-to-stitch arrangement for £3.95.
Pattern purchased, I was larboard with about £6 for aggregate abroad – including the fabric. Tight to say the atomic … Although I succeeded in award a arrest (again in Deptford market) affairs actual for aloof £1 a metre, it wasn’t absolutely what I’d dreamed of for my abstract bride. Surely she adapted a little added than that on her big day – abnormally as she was actuality so abstemious? I absolutely didn’t appetite her walking bottomward the alley in what amounted to a sheet.
My accomplishment came in the anatomy of a brace of curtains – or to be added precise, blind bolt from a acquaintance who’d heard of my predicament. As luck would accept it, she’d had some admirable debris buried abroad for months afterwards authoritative albino adornment apparel for her bedchamber windows. This was added like it – a big footfall up from the apparent white polycotton I’d about been affected into affairs to break aural budget. She actual attentive donated her assortment to me, forth with some admirable fair buttons cut from an old jumper.
Up in Scotland adulatory Christmas with my family, I adopted my cousin’s age-old bed-making apparatus and got to assignment as anon as the turkey and trimmings had been tucked abroad for addition year. I added the zip and did the hem on the alternation aback bottomward to London, and alike managed to actualize a blanket with some extra bolt of my own. Total amount of dress two: £7.95.
Two down, one to go. I angry to Sense, the alms for deafblind people, for Dress three. Sense, like abounding added charities nowadays, sells bells dresses that are either secondhand or ex-designer. However, although they’re actual bargain in allegory to new, they were still way aloft my amount range. Instead I plumped for a continued white sundress with a argent cilia active through it, a apparent white round-necked T-shirt, and a sequined belt.
I cut up the T-shirt and angry it into a little vintage-style wraparound jacket, customised with 10 metres of applique trim. I again adapted the belt to fit the waist rather than the hips. Afterwards a morning’s assignment I’d succeeded in creating a boho-chic outfit, absolute for attached the bond on a sunkissed bank in the Maldives – or alternatively for a helpmate on a cartel budget, about a little afterpiece to home. This dress came in at absolutely £9.50.
Of course, we’re still cat-and-mouse to see who’ll architecture the conjugal clothes for the accessible aristocratic wedding. But Kate, if you’re a bit abbreviate afterwards aqueous out in the January sales, I’m abiding I can crackle article up with that additional tenner you’ve got tucked away.
• If you’re organising a cartel bells this year, Mary Jane would like to apprehend your story. Contact her on [email protected] Watch BBC Breakfast tomorrow, Saturday 22 January, to see Mary Jane’s bells dress challenge.maryjanemillinery.co.uk
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